Thursday, January 27, 2011
Why the Universe, Life and Man?
Nature Holds its Secrets Very Close!
I doubt the ability of modern man to reconstruct accurately the creation of ideas or memes regarding the fundamental questions of why the universe, why life, and why man. Then to follow accurately the causal chain of events and, more importantly, the sporadic evolution of these ideas down from ancient times to the present.
These chains and idea evolutions lead to one philosophy or another, one religious belief or another, one sect or another, or, as has also transpired, the nihilistic, atheistic state of non-belief in anything—except for, perhaps, the incremental and incomplete knowledge that science brings to the question.
There are attempts, of course, to chronicle all of this learning, and a long list of ancient scholars to peruse, but they all suffer from similar ills: bias, incomplete knowledge of the universe, and, ultimately, flawed views of why the universe, life, and man.
The best modern man can do is to trace the literature still in existence that treats the subject of “why everything”, and then to put their hope of greater clarity upon legions of philosophers, scientists and other scholars to pick up the trails that have been developed so far, and move our knowledge forward an incremental step or two.
But the scientists and scholars suffer from exactly the same deficiencies as the ancients did, except for degree: initial bias; lack of complete knowledge of their own mini-subject; and, in particular, knowledge of the entire universe of subjects that must be brought to bear; and more specifically, lack of sufficient training and firm grasp of the totality of philosophy, science, history and religion as they apply to the question of why the universe.
The fact is that every major philosophical system has been shown to have logical flaws that cannot be resolved, bringing each of them ultimately to an unbridgeable impasse. (This includes the following systems: Materialism; Positivism; Thomism; Critical Realism; Personalism; Phenomenology; and Existentialism among others.) Reference: Ideas of the Great Philosophers, Sahakian and Sahakian, Barnes and Noble, 1966. One cannot or should not use flawed philosophy in this quest.
Science, too, suffers from the same contretemps---the existing and frustrating ultimate limits to their knowledge of the universe, as opposed to their speculations on its origin, such as the Big Bang, the Multiverse Concept (invented to avoid the presumption of a First Cause) or the latest Self-Generation of the Universe a la Hawkins. These logical and physical constructs cannot be observed or proven. Thus, science, too, fails us at the limit, which is precisely where it ought to be our very best tool. Legions of scientists cannot break through the ultimate barriers of nature, such as: What was there before the Big Bang? Can we make something out of nothing? Did God have a hand in creation?
History is frustratingly incomplete on the subject also, or else it is riddled with superstition and myth if you go back far enough. One can incorporate a favorite myth or two or a large set of Gods into the answer, but that is hardly progress.
Thus, I doubt the ability of modern man to penetrate the final barriers of nature.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Yet another rush to ban guns from the public.
State and national representatives are ginning up another round of gun laws designed to make guns harder to own, carry, and shoot for ordinary citizens. They are using the events in Tucson as an illustration of the dangers of gun ownership, just as they have done after each shooting by crazed people. We do have too many shootings; one cannot deny that. But, is outlawing guns the right solution?
I say no. I say no for a number of cogent reasons:
1. It is a Constitutional Second Amendment right to own and use rifles, shotguns and handguns.
2. Guns of all types have been highly effective in preventing crimes--over three million criminal incidents in 2007 were prevented by gunowners from becoming tragedies, many of them potentially fatal to the victims. An estimated 3,000 of these incidents were destined to end in killings and rapes without strong intervention by the victims themselves. This number of gun related crime preventions completely outweighs the losses from crazed shootings and any other reason to deny handguns and rifles to the public.
3. Guns will be available to criminals regardless of the laws. It makes no sense to disarm the general public in the face of such threats as criminals pose today.
4. Most calls for help to the police take at least fifteen minutes before an officer or two arrives at the scene, and with the economic cuts on services we are receiving, perhaps a lot longer. That is a long enough time for major mayhem to take place in the home, on the family, and on the children. I cannot and will not stand by while intruders have their way with my family so long as I am able to respond effectively.
So, I say to all of the anti-gun people--come try to take my weapons!
Some on the right are looking for a simple phrase, a meme, that will send home the problem of Islam to the American public, without having to spend months and whole books to explain the problem. I have a few candidates to suggest. Please feel free to suggest your own:
1. Islam consists of two parts:
a) a semi-coherent religious part that extols Muhammad as the messenger of God, and condemns Christians and Jews to be infidels worthy of death; and,
b) a secular part that prescribes Sharia Law as the law of the land, and sets up a tyrannical hierarchy of clerics to rule the country under Sharia.
2. Islam = Religion + Sharia Law + Death to the infidel.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Obama Report Card
Report Card on Obama's First Two Years
By K.E. Campbell ( with permision)
Two years ago today, Barack Obama was inaugurated as president of the United States. Are you better off today than you were two years ago?
Numbers don't lie, and here are the data on the impact he has had on the lives of Americans:
January 2001/ Current/ % chg/ Source
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S. (regular conventional)
$1.83/ $3.104/ 69.6%/ 1
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
$43.48/ $99.02/ 127.7%/ 2
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
$38.74/ $91.38/ 135.9%/ 2
Natural gas, Henry Hub, $ per MMbtu
$4.85/ $4.48/ -7.6%/ 2
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
$853.25/ $1,369.50/ 60.5%/ 2
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
$3.56/ $6.33/ 78.1%/ 2
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
$9.66/ $13.75/ 42.3%/ 2
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob
$13.37/ $35.39/ 164.7%/ 2
Consumer Price Index (for all urban consumers)
211.1/ 219.2/ 3.8%/ 3
Producer Price Index: finished goods
170.3/ 183.0/ 7.5%/ 3
Producer Price Index: all commodities
171.0/ 189.9/ 11.1%/ 3
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
7.6%/ 9.4%/ 23.7%/ 3
Unemployment rate, blacks
12.6%/ 15.8%/ 25.4%/ 3
Number of unemployed
11,616,000/ 14,485,000/ 24.7%/ 3
Number of fed. employees, ex. uniformed military (curr = 12/10 prelim)
2,779,000/ 2,840,000/ 2.2%/ 3
Real median household income (2008 vs 2009)
$50,112/ $49,777/ -0.7%/ 4
Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)
31,983,716/ 43,200,878/ 35.1%/ 5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)
7,526,598/ 9,193,838/ 22.2%/ 6
Number of long-term unemployed, in millions
2.6/ 6.4/ 146.2%/ 3
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 vs 2009)
13.2%/ 14.3%/ 8.3%/ 4
People in poverty in U.S., in millions (2008 vs 2009)
39.8/ 43.6/ 9.5%/ 4
House price index (current = Q3 2010)
198.7/ 192.7/ -3.0%/ 7
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index: 20 city composite (curr = 10/10)
146.4/ 145.3/ -0.8%/ 8
Number of properties subject of foreclosure filings, in millions
2.82/ 2.8/ 1.7%/ 9
DJIA (12,403 on 6/3/08, date BHO clinched Dem. nomination)
7,949/ 11,825/ 48.8%/ 2
NASDAQ (2,480 on 6/3/08)
1,441/ 2,725/ 89.1%/ 2
S&P 500 (1,378 on 6/3/08)
80/ 1,282/ 59.2%/ 2
1,356/ 2,153/ 58.8%/ 2
U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
5/ 9/ n/a/ 10
Consumer Confidence Index (curr = 12/10)
37.7/ 52.5/ 39.3%/ 11
Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)
29.9/ 23.5/ -21.4%/ 11
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)
140/ 164/ 17.1/ 12
U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
89.76/ 82.03/ -8.6%/ 2
U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 preliminary)
1,575.1/ 1,865.7/ 18.4%/ 13
U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 preliminary)
8,310.9/ 8,852.3/ 6.5%/ 13
National debt, in trillions
$10.627/ $14.052/ 32.2%/ 14
1 - U.S. Energy Information Admin.
2 - Wall Street Journal
3 - Bureau of Labor Statistics
4 - Census Bureau
5 - USDA
6 - U.S. Dept. of Labor
7 - FHFA
8 - Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller
9 - RealtyTrac
10 - Heritage Foundation and WSJ
11 - The Conference Board
12 - FDIC
13 - Federal Reserve
14 - U.S. Treasury
Identification? You are known!
The Perils of Today's Government
Perhaps it is simply too late to turn back the thrust for accurate and complete identification, credit worthiness, a drug free body, and income security available to far too many people.
We have a Social Security Number. We have a Driver's License Number. We have Credit information filed in at least three major national organizations with file numbers. We have our income information filed in at least two or three government organizations--federal (IRS), state, and local governments--using the SSN, or something equivalent. We have one or more credit cards with substantial information filed at the card's organization number, which can be used to assess your purchases and gas buying habits. We have our property ownership filed at the courthouse and available to all.
We have a passport with a full docket on us filed at the State Department, including where we have traveled over the years. If you work for the government or are in the military, or are a contractor that requires a security clearance on you, the intelligence agencies have your fingerprints, picture, and history of addresses you have lived in, as well as commentary from investigators that have interviewed your neighbors, as well as all of the above imformation as they feel is needed.
Any private investigator worth his pay can compile a very substantial dossier on you without leaving his office desk, and so can any government agency that decides to take an interest in you.
The very last step is a national identification card that can be correlated with any of the above files on you, thus allowing for a much easier access to the sum of your dossiers by anyone with a modicrum of authority to do so, of whom there are legions.
The clock will not be turned back, unfortunately, so we must find the methods and practices that preserve our lives and our freedoms despite this massive amount of personal information available to these legions of curious people. Just how we do this is not clear to me. Any ideas?
Crossposted at American Thinker
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Sarah Palin--Media Football
If the Democrats spent as much time, devious thought and energy on creating jobs and balancing the budget as they do trying to run Sarah into the ground, we would not have nearly 10% unemployment and a national debt of 14 Trillion dollars.
Labels: Sarah Palin
Work or not, you live well---maybe!
The Socialist dream will never die, simply because it promises a free ride to everyone regardless of their contribution to society or their indigence.
Those in favor of Socialism slather at the prospect of:
--free education through university, including subsistence.
--free or well under market value housing.
--free and paid six or eight week vacations plus 9 or 10 holidays a year.
--full employment and a protected job for life.
--guaranteed living wage to everyone regardless of their being employed or not.
--very low-cost loans guaranteed by the government to buy furniture, appliances, automobiles, clothes and vacations.
All of these goodies would be paid for by the taxpayers, both private parties and businesses, through onorous tax burdens reaching 80-90% of profit or income at the top income levels.
This is the promise of Socialism--but it is a false promise that cannot be met for very practical reasons.
What isn't stated clearly is the thrust by Socialists for income leveling; that is, the CEO would make merely three times what the janitor would make. The incentive to get ahead would be lost. Then, too, a Socialist state has a built-in progression from a citizen's paradise to a more totalitarian state over a very short time in historical terms. Thus there would be the priveleged "haves" and the underpriveleged "have littles and have nots" rather quickly, which was the situation in Soviet Russia for 75 years.
The final blow to Socialism is the necessity to own and manage the economy, which is such an enormous task that even in this age of massive computers and a few intelligent men we still cannot account for all of the variables in an economy of any reasonable size. Thus there would be shortages, no output and overproduction of everything, including food, as was the case in the USSR.
It takes gall and hubris, not to mention stupidity, for anyone to think that they can do it better the next time around, mainly because it is completely contrary to human nature. Even Marx understood this!